Hsai I-Fu, (c.1920–2016)
Hsia I-fu was born in Shandong Province in the early 1920s. Hsia passed the strenuous qualifying exams to enter the prestigious Hangzhou Art Academy in 1947 but because of the political turbulence, was forced to withdraw. He eventually escaped to Taiwan with Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalist Army. Until the late 1970’s, Hsia took on numerous art-related jobs from advertising to textile and interior design. In fact, the well-known package design of Taikoo sugar, a fixture in nearly every kitchen in Taiwan to this day, was created by Hsia in the 1950’s.
Since 1978, Hsia has devoted himself solely to painting. While Hsia’s paintings harken back to the monumental landscapes of the Sung masters, such as Li Ch’eng and Hsu Tao-ning, a careful examination of his brushwork and inkwash style reveals his work as clearly contemporary. His brush technique is unique, consisting of layering minute strokes over the course of days, and sometimes weeks, to construct massive, weighty rocks and mountains.
Hsia has held numerous solo exhibitions in Taiwan over the years and has a strong following throughout Asia. In 2002-2003, Hsia was given a retrospective show by the Taiwan National History Museum. Several U.S. museums, including: the Nelson-Atkins Museum in Kansas City, The Norton Museum of Art, Florida, the Princeton Art Museum, the Newark Museum of Art and the Sackler Museum at Harvard, hold works by Hsia in their permanent collections.